Breathing Exercise

Sit with the hands at the back of the neck, and the elbows in line with the shoulders, the chest held high, and the abdominal muscles well drawn in. Raise the heels and make rapid movements upon the floor with the toes for one minute. Then take ten deep breaths, still holding the arms in position.

Rocking Chair Exercise

Sitting upon the front edge of a chair, with the hands upon the hips, the thumbs behind, the elbows well drawn back, bend forward to an angle of 45° and then, holding the body rigid, throw the trunk backward, lifting the feet clear of the floor. Repeat The effect will be a rocking movement. Breathe deeply. Repeat forty times. A rocking chair may be conveniently used in taking this exercise.

Exercise To Raise The Chest

Lie upon the back on a hard surface; place beneath the hollow of the back a roll of blankets or a folded pillow or cushion about six inches in diameter. The purpose of this is to give the spinal column the forward curve which is natural to it, and thus to raise the chest. The roll should be placed at such a point as to raise the chest to the fullest extent, while the head and shoulders still rest upon the couch. In this position, deep breathing movements should be practiced at the rate of about ten a minute.

To Strengthen The Abdominal Muscles

With the back supported as in the previous paragraph, raise both legs to the perpendicular. Repeat ten to forty times. A deep breath should be taken just before the legs are raised, and after each movement there should be a pause during which a deep breath is taken.

Feeble and very fleshy persons are often at first not able to raise the legs. In such cases the exercise will begin with the legs drawn up to a fixed position. By extending the legs and allowing them at the same time to drop slowly to the starting position, the abdominal muscles may be brought into strong contraction, and as they gradually increase in strength, the legs may be flexed less until they can be raised to a vertical position without flexion.

Trunk Raising Exercise

Lying on the back and holding the legs firmly extended, raise the arms forward and raise the body to the perpendicular, then bend forward, and, if possible, touch the toes. Repeat ten to twenty times.

Rolling Exercise

Rolling over on the floor or on a wide bed is a capital exercise for strengthening the lateral muscles of the trunk. Practice for five minutes.

Rocking Exercise, Lying

Flex the left leg upon the abdomen; clasp the hands beneath the knee and pull as hard as possible, so as to force the thigh down upon the abdomen; then, with the other leg fully extended, cause the body to execute rocking movements by quickly moving the leg up and down, assisting by forward and backward movements of the head Repeat same with the right leg. This is a very effective exercise if taken vigorously and repeated three times a day for five or ten minutes.

Arm And Trunk Exercise With Deep Breathing

Standing with the chest held high, place left hand upon the left hip. With a swinging movement outward bring the right arm to the perpendicular, and then holding the arm in position, bend the body to the left side as far as possible, breathing in. Rise to position, breathing out. Repeat four times and then execute the same movement with the right hand upon the hip, breathing in.

Squatting Exercise

Standing, with the heels separated ten or twelve inches, the hands upon the hips, execute squatting movements, bringing the trunk as near to the floor as possible, and bending slightly forward. An excellent exercise to stimulate bowel movement.

Running On All Fours

With arms and legs extended run about the room for five or ten minutes. Running on all fours. This movement was prescribed by a Berlin physician for an eminent German Statesman, with excellent results.

Knee-Chest Breathing

Placing the body in the knee-chest position, execute deep breathing movements, filling the chest as completely as possible, then, holding the chest in position, draw in the abdomen as much as possible while breathing out.

Colon Compressing Exercise

Sitting on a low seat or with the feet raised upon a stool, place the closed fists in the left groin and bend the trunk strongly forward so as to compress the hands between the thighs and the abdomen. Take several deep breaths while holding the body in this position.

Inclined Plane Exercises

Among the most important of all forms of exercises for combating constipation, series of certain simple exercises are taken upon an inclined plane, with the head low. The special advantages of the inclined plane are:

1. The head-low, hips-high position greatly aids in the replacement of the prolapsed stomach and colon, conditions almost universally present in chronic constipation.

2. The head-low position drains the abdomen of blood, thus relieving congestion of the viscera.

3. Exercises of the trunk muscles should always be taken after the prolapsed viscera have been restored to position. When this is not done, the effect may be to increase the displacement whenever the abdominal muscles are strongly contracted.

There are three classes of exercises to be taken with the inclined plane, viz: (1) Stretching exercises, (2) Colon replacing exercises, and (3) Trunk exercises.

The folding exercise table is a convenient appliance for use in these exercises. It may be in part replaced by an ordinary ironing board placed with one end resting upon the side of a bed, couch or window sill, the other on the floor. The exercise table is provided with a strap at one end to hold the feet and prevent slipping down and a rope with handle attached for pulling the body up. At the sides are placed handles to be grasped by the patient.